Sun, Jul 8
7:30 PM ET

Preview: Struggling Impact look to snap slump against Crew

STADE SAPUTO, Montréal, Qué.
July 8, 2012 (WEEK 18, MLS Game #171)
7 p.m. ET (TVA; FS-OH)

The Montréal Impact and Columbus Crew will face off for the second time when the Eastern Conference clubs meet Sunday evening at Stade Saputo. The Impact are in the throes of a three-game losing slide, falling 3-1 at midweek at home to Sporting Kansas City. The Crew return to action after a week off, their last match a 2-0 home win against Real Salt Lake.

REFEREE: Matthew Foerster. SAR (bench): Anthony Vasoli; JAR (opposite): Jeff Muschik; 4th: Mathieu Bourdeau
MLS Career: 1 games; FC/gm: 20.0; Y/gm: 5.0; R: 0; pens: 0



  • MONTREAL IMPACT – OUT: DF Matteo Ferrari (R quad strain); DF Nelson Rivas (abdomen); FW Bernardo Corradi (L knee ACL tear); FW Andrew Wenger (L hamstring strain); FW Evan James (L ankle sprain) …
  • COLUMBUS CREW -- OUT: FW Tommy Heinemann (L knee surgery); GK William Hesmer (R hip surgery); MF Kirk Urso (R adductor tendonitis); DF Rich Balchan (sports hernia rehab); QUESTIONABLE: MF Dilly Duka (L hamstring strain); DF Carlos Mendes (R ankle sprain); DF Chad Marshall (concussion); PROBABLE: MF Danny O'Rourke (L ankle sprain); MF Milovan Mirosevic (L adductor strain)


SUSPENDED: MTL: Davy Arnaud (caution accumulation; through July 8), Felipe Martins (caution accumulation; through July 8)


  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: MTL: Bernardo Corradi, Tyson Wahl, Collen Warner

ALL-TIME (1 meeting): Crew 1 win, 2 goals … Impact 0 wins, 0 goals ... Ties 0
FUTURE MATCH: 9/1: Columbus Crew vs. Montreal Impact, 7:30 p.m. ET
•    The teams are meeting for the second time. Goals from Milovan Mirosevic and Olman Vargas on either side of halftime gave the Crew a 2-0 win in Columbus on March 24.
•    Coaches record: Jesse Marsch vs. CLB: P1 W0 L1 T0 … Robert Warzycha vs. MTL: P1 W1 L0 T0

3/24: CLB 2, MTL 0 (Mirosevic 30; Vargas 66)
•    The complexion of the game turned after just 19 minutes when defender Jeb Brovsky was issued a red card in the 19th minute for an elbow to the back of the head of Mirovan Mirosevic.
•    The Crew scored their first goal of the season in the 30th minute when Mirosevic converted a penalty kick. Emilio Rentería drew the spot kick when he rushed into the right side of the box before being hauled down by Felipe Martins.
•    The home side then doubled the lead in the 66th minute. Olman Vargas, making his first MLS start, snapped a header off a Shaun Francis cross from the left flank.
•    COLUMBUS CREW (4-3-1-2): Andy Gruenebaum - Sebastian Miranda (Josh Williams 75), Danny O'Rourke, Chad Marshall, Shaun Francis -  Kirk Urso - Eddie Gaven, Milovan Mirosevic, Bernardo Anor - Emilio Renteria (Aaron Schoenfeld 69), Olman Vargas (Ethan Finlay 89).
•    MONTREAL IMPACT (4-4-2): Donovan Ricketts - Jeb Brovsky (sent off 19), Tyson Wahl, Matteo Ferrari, Josh Gardner - Davy Arnaud, Felipe Martins, Patrice Bernier (Collen Warner 46), Justin Mapp (Lamar Neagle 69) - Justin Braun, Sanna Nyassi (Bernardo Corradi 46).

The Montréal Impact dropped their third match in a row, Sporting Kansas City coming back for a 3-1 win Wednesday evening at Stade Saputo. The Impact are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 18 points from 19 matches.


WATCH: Full Match Highlights

  • The Impact took the lead four minutes into the second half. Felipe ran onto a Zarek Valentin through ball on the right side of the area and he cut back a low cross which evaded everyone in the box. It fell perfectly for Patrice Bernier, who came charging through the center and unleashed a first-time  to the back of the net.
  • But Sporting were level six minutes later when Bernier was whistled for a hand ball in the penalty area. Kei Kamara stepped up to convert the penalty.
  •  Yet another scramble in the Impact’s penalty area in the 75th minute saw Montreal captain Davy Arnaud foul KC substitute Soony Saad. Referee Sorin Stoica pointed to the spot once again, and this time it was Graham Zusi's turn to convert and put the visitors ahead 2-1.
  • Sporting added a third eight minutes from full time. Roger Espinoza’s cross from the left found Jacob Peterson on the opposite side and his hard drive deflected off a defender and flew past goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts for the capper.
  •  Impact head coach Jesse Marsch made five changes to the team that went down to a 3-0 defeat to D.C. United at RFK Stadium. Donovan Ricketts replaced Evan Bush between the posts, Hassoun Camara and Jeb Brovsky came into the back four for Calum Mallace and Tyson Wahl, and Patrice Bernier and Marco Di Vaio started in place of Sinisa Ubiparipovic and Sanna Nyassi.
  • MONTREAL IMPACT (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Zarek Valentin, Shavar Thomas, Hassoun Camara, Jeb Brovsky (Eduardo Sebrango 80) - Collen Warner, Patrice Bernier - Davy Arnaud, Felipe Martins, Justin Mapp (Justin Braun 87) - Marco Di Vaio (Sanna Nyassi 71).


  • The Impact have now allowed nine goals in their three-game losing streak and have allowed multiple goals in seven of their last eight matches.
  • “The first half we push hard and ultimately we get a lead. And then the game goes haywire,” said Marsch. “This loss hurts. Guys are disappointed as they put a lot into tonight’s game. I told them that if we play the way we did tonight, we will win a lot of games.”
  • In the four league games played at Stade Saputo, 18 goals have been scored. The winning team has not scored fewer than three goals in any of the contests.
  • “We came out in the second half and we got the goal,” said midfielder Davy Arnaud. “We didn’t stop. Our team wears its heart on its sleeves and we knew we should have been up at halftime. And then we all know what happened after that.”
  • The Impact have allowed six penalty kicks this season – most in MLS. They’ve also scored five times from the penalty spot, which also leads MLS.
  •  “Listen, if we’re going to start giving penalty kicks in the box for guys battling and fighting, we’re going to see eight penalty kicks a game," Davy Arnaud said. "If that’s the way it’s going to be, let’s have some consistency then and let’s call every single one like that, because we see, every single corner, every single set piece, guys battle. That’s the game.”
  • Marco Di Vaio made his second start in three matches since joining the club, playing his longest shift in MLS at 71 minutes.
  • “We deserved to win. If there was one team that deserved it more it was us. I couldn’t score in the first half, and we as a team couldn’t score in the first half. We deserved better,” said Di Vaio.
  • On Thursday, the Impact announced the signing of Italian defender and 2006 FIFA World Cup winner Alessandro Nesta. Nesta played a total of 417 games in Serie A, 101 games in Champions League competition, 17 UEFA Cup/Europa matches and 17 Coppa Italia contests, all while wearing the uniforms of Lazio from 1993-2002, and AC Milan from 2003-2012. He is considered one of the all-time best central defenders in soccer history. He was named to the UEFA Team of the Year on four occasions (2002, 2003, 2004, and 2007) and was named Serie A Defender of the Year another four times (2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003).
  • The club are hopeful Nesta will take part in training in the days leading up to the Columbus match, though Marsch said he expects Nesta could be match fit in two or three weeks.
  • “It’s always hard when you add guys midseason, and last night you could see that Marco fits in well,” Marsch said. “That took three games, or a week, or whatever you want to call it, but now you start to feel like, ‘OK, this is going to be a really good fit.’ Now, we just need to be smart and do the same thing with Alessandro.”

The Columbus Crew won for a third consecutive match at Crew Stadium, easing to a 2-0 victory against Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening. The Crew sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 22 points from 15 games.


  • The match was started an hour late after violent storms that ripped through central Ohio on Friday caused a loss of power at Crew Stadium.
  • But the Crew started quickly, taking the lead in the 16th minute. Emilio Rentería regained control of a long ball after nearly falling over a defender, but dribbled to the endline and cut back a pass for Tony Tchani to slot home from the spot.
  • Eddie Gaven doubled the Crew advantage off a corner kick. Josh Williams settled the service by Chris Birchall and drove it back into the mixer where Gaven turned a left-footed shot that struck the underside of the crossbar and continued over the line.
  • Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made two changes to the team that fell 2-1 to the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. Danny O'Rourke and Aaron Schoenfeld returned to the team in place of Kevan George and Justin Meram.
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-4-2): Andy Gruenebaum - Sebastian Miranda, Josh Williams, Julius James, Nemanja Vukovic - Chris Birchall, Danny O'Rourke, Tony Tchani (Kevan George 70), Eddie Gaven - Emilio Renteria (Justin Meram 79), Aaron Schoenfeld (Milovan Mirosevic 52).


WATCH: Black and Gold Breakdown

  • The Crew recorded a third defensive shutout in the last five games, and have lost just once since the start of May (4-1-3).
  • The Crew have allowed just 15 goals in 15 games, and entered the week tied for the best defensive record in MLS with 1.00 goals allowed per game.
  •  “We had to be very compact and very organized. We finished our chances well, two crosses on the ground,” said Crew head coach Robert Warzycha. “The second half, we were very confident defending. Being in the right places, too bad we didn't catch them once in a counter attack. But with heat like this, I'm pleased with the performance. And obviously, nobody got hurt so that's very important.”
  • Danny O’Rourke made his return to the Crew lineup for the first time since May 23, when he forced off early after suffering an ankle sprain.
  •  “He has a lot of experience. He's probably not 100 percent fit, because he hasn't played since the Seattle game. He can manage the game, especially at the end of the game when you have to have somebody on the field with experience to step up and win the ball in the middle,” Warzycha said.
  •  Aaron Schoenfeld also returned to the first team, starting his first game since April 28, when he suffered a ruptured plantar fascia in the Vancouver game.
  • The Crew could have center back Chad Marshall available for the Montréal game. The MLS Defender of the Year in 2008 and ’09, Marshall has been out since suffering a concussion May 4, but played in a reserve match last week.
  •  “Josh (Williams), Carlos (Mendes) and Eric Gehrig — they’ve all stepped up and done an exceptional job in there,” assistant coach Mike Lapper said to the Columbus Dispatch. “That’s what makes coaching what you want it to be, when you have decisions to make and don’t just throw out a team out of necessity. Now we have options.”
  • Said goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum: “Just being slightly above .500, Chad is the type of guy who can change that result. Instead of being 6-5-4, maybe we only lose four of those or three of those. He can change a game like that. He’s just that type of player, both on the defensive end and the offensive end. It’ll be great to have him back.”Tony Tchani scored for the second consecutive game, making a third consecutive start, this time in a central midfield role. He took over in the center for Milovan Mirosevic on May 26.
  • “Tony is a great player (in that role). He's really good on the ball, he makes good runs, makes very good passes. And as you saw tonight, he can also finish,” said Eddie Gaven. “He scored two really nice goals these past two games. He's making those late runs into the box that are so dangerous for other teams to defend. He's been playing really well in there for us.”
  • Chris Birchall has assists in back-to-back games, his first two starts with the Crew. Birchall signed with the club this season after winning MLS Cup with the LA Galaxy last year.
  • Julius James made his second consecutive start in central defense. “It was the first game I’ve played in all year we won,” James said. “And we got the goose egg. I’m really happy that I was able to contribute.”
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